Many people these days buy used bikes online. After all, it’s possible to get a great bargain, because so many people buy bikes with every good intention, but then never use them. But if you are planning to buy a used bike, there are a lot of things to watch out for when you buy a used bike online. Here is a guide to phrases to watch out for when buying a used bike – and a guide to what those phrases might REALLY mean!
Phrases to Watch Out For
“I don’t really know anything about bikes.”
Watch out for this; because it might mean: “I know the bike is complete garbage, so I want to pretend ignorance so that you won’t phone back and yell at me when it falls apart.”
Of course, it might also just mean they don’t know anything about bikes – which is all right if you do.
“My roommate left it behind.”
“The photo doesn’t show a saddle but I do have one/you can buy one really cheap.”
Most likely this means “It’s stolen.”
(Because some people remove their saddles when they park their bikes, to discourage bike thieves, but sadly it doesn’t always work.)
“The photo doesn’t show a front wheel but I do have one/you can buy one really cheap.”
(Because some people take off their front wheels when they park their bikes, to discourage bike thieves, but again, this doesn’t always work.)
“Must sell this bike today!”
“It’s definitely stolen.”
“Barely used!” or “Ridden only 4 times!”
There may be a very good reason why it’s barely been used. And the reason may be that it’s a horrible bike. And if the current owner hates it that much, why would you want to pay money to ALSO have a bike that you don’t want to ride?
BUT if they have a really good reason for not riding it – such as back surgery – that’s a whole different story. And let’s not forget that many people buy bikes with good intentions of taking up cycling and getting fit, but then don’t follow through. Of course, that will not happen to you!
“Rare!” “Vintage!” “Seldom found!”
Usually these phrases mean there is nothing good to say about the bike, so the seller hopes you will believe that it is a rare gem that you should buy before anyone else notices it … and usually, the bike is not at all rare, as you will quickly discover if you do a bit more searching on the Internet. Some sellers appear to think that “old” is spelled “v-i-n-t-a-g-e”.
When will these sellers realize that a worthless bike that is really old is still worthless? Just because it has been gathering dust in their garage for 50 years, it does not miraculously morph into a “vintage” bike that is worth hundreds of dollars. In almost every bike advert I have ever seen that had the word “vintage,” the word merely meant “old.”
Of course, writing off all bikes labeled “vintage” would be a problem if you are actually looking for a real vintage bike (and there are sometimes some of these for sale online). Again, it’s a case of doing your research to verify the seller’s claim.
The above post is excerpted from my Bike Buyer’s Guide. Read all about this book here. Or just subscribe to this blog today, and receive a free download of the entire book (the subscribe button is at the bottom of page, and on the side too, if you’re on a PC).
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